Our last full day of the trip. We were concerned it might be quiet and uneventful. It turned out to be anything but.
As we had a long drive across the outback to Perth and we were keen to visit at least a couple of places before going to our Hotel at the airport for the night, we were up and checked out by 8am. Breakfast was another make do affair. The start of the drive was uneventful apart from seeing a few more wild kangaroos. It was another beautiful day and Karen made herself a make shift sun blind to stop herself getting too hot from the sun on her.
After driving for about hour I happened to mention to Karen that we may need to top up with petrol at some point and then fill up again completely when we got to the Hotel prior to taking the car back. Big mistake. Karen is the person who never lets her fuel gauge drop below half. I could tell this was now agitating her so when I saw a sign to a village which showed it had a petrol station I suggested we diverted to find.
Not a great decision as the village ended up about 5 miles away looping back in the direction we had just come from. Nevertheless I put $30 in the tank. I am sure the one horse town will be talking for years about the time ‘someone from not round these parts’ came and went into the garage. 'He spoke right funny as well'.
Back on the main highway, the road started to straighten out and was very wide in parts with many passing places. At times you could see ahead for miles. Despite the opportunity I kept to the speed limit of 110km. On one such piece of long straight road I saw 2 cars approaching from the other direction and then noticed there was a Police car behind them. Suddenly he put on his lights as they all passed me. Then I saw the Police car stop, do a U turn and started to catch me up still with its light flashing. I slowed down and went to the side of the road to let him pass. To my surprise he pulled alongside me, wound down his window and said that he needed to speak to me. He asked if I could just drive forward to a point where I could pull off the road completely.
I had no idea what was going on, but did as he asked. I got out of the car and went to speak him. He asked me if I knew what speed I was doing, as he had clocked me at 112km. I said I thought I was doing 110km which I said I thought was the speed limit as detailed by the Sat Nav and the signs I had seen all the way along this highway. He told me that the speed limit had recently been changed to 100km along this short stretch as it was an accident blackspot. I apologised and said my Sat Nav (thinking to myself, my bloody useless Sat Nav) still showed the wrong speed. I explained we were heading back to the airport. He asked for my license to check whether I had any other Australian motoring offences and then asked me to take a breathalyser test. I was quite happy to do so as I knew that would not be a problem. After doing his checks he said under the circumstances he would let me off with a warning rather than a $200 fine. At all times, he was very polite, professional and quite chatty. I decided not to antagonise the situation by saying that there were no road signs indicating that the speed limit had changed, and just thanked him and said goodbye.
Looking back it was all rather exciting as I had never taken a breathalyser test before. I was really angry with the Sat Nav as it was supposed to have the up to date maps and everything. Not only that but the ruddy screen attachment didn’t work properly and the screen keep slipping to face downwards all the time. I decided not to trust it anymore and kept to 10km under whatever limit it quoted for the rest of the day much to the annoyance of being following me. I am not a speed merchant at the best of times so this really did not bother me. Later in the day the Sat Nav navigated me off the Freeway only to then take me straight back onto it again. It really is a useless piece of junk.
Following this excitement we came to Yanchep National Park which was our first scheduled stop. It cost $12 admission for the car. It was really quite lovely. It was set around a hilariously named body of water called Loch McNess. The attractions included Perths largest cave and many walking trails. But for us we really just wanted to visit the Koala Boardwalk. Now there are no colonies of koalas in Western Australia, so these ones are obviously in captivity, yet it didn’t feel like it. It was an open large walkway with loads of space and lots of trees either side of it. The Koalas were very high in the trees, all asleep in the most stupid positions. It was quite difficult to spot them. Whilst on the boardwalk I first noticed that my right ankle was getting rather stiff and sore but didn’t think anything of it.
We then went to a rather nice tea house next to the boardwalk where we had a pot of tea and a toasted sandwich each. It was beautiful sitting outside eating them although at time we couldn’t speak as there was a large group of rare Black parakeets that keep flying and squawking really loudly above us. We also logged onto one of the park’s ‘smart benches’ where you can not only recharge things but also acted as wifi hot spot all powered by solar.
The next port of call was Scarborough Beach which is part of the City of Stirling, just north of Perth. It was stunning. The sea was beautiful and the front was well cared for and busy. It looked a good place to stay. We found a free 4 hour parking spot and went for a walk. On the way back we spotted another franchise of the Dome cafe and thought we would have another snack type thing. We both had the Salmon Benedict with a pot tea and sat for ages in a real sun trap on the 1st floor overlooking the coast.
Our final stop for the afternoon was to be Cotteslow Beach which was further down the coast. This beach was supposed to be even better than Scarborough. Well the beach might have been but the place wasn’t nearly as nice. Still we went for a walk and Karen found some shade on the beach to sit for a while. The nice thing about the place was that the cliffs down to the beach were gently terraced with grass meaning that most people were laying on these and then going into the sea. Much more sensible that getting sand everywhere in my opinion.
All too soon it was time to go to our final Hotel. It was advertised as an airport hotel. It was horrible and not even on the airport grounds. I knew as soon as I pulled up that it wasn’t going to be good. Surprisingly Karen wasn’t too bad about it. I thought it was grotty and just as well that we would be checking out in less than 10 hours. After unloading everything for the final time, I was really in a lot of pain from my ankle. I didn’t have a clue what I had done to it though. It felt as if I had knocked it badly.
We then headed out to get some dinner and find a supermarket to buy snacks for the long flights home. We ended up a couple of miles away at a large American stye shopping mall called Belmont Forum. The choice for dinner wasn’t great though and we ended up in another Nando’s. This time though I got Karen’s order exactly right and she was happy. Neither of us had chips with our chicken. We then went in the Coles Supermarket in the mall and got the snacks we wanted.
By now I was struggling to walk at all. I was starting to get worried. Back at the Hotel we wanted to be in bed by 8.30pm at the latest. I got into bed thinking that putting my leg up would bring some relief. Wrong. After about 20 minutes, my whole leg below the knee was really throbbing and I was struggling to cope with the pain. So much for trying to get some sleep before our 2.45am alarm call.
I got out of bed and tried to walk around the bed but couldn’t. We then had a heated discussion about what could be happening. Karen was convinced it was the onset of Cellulitus again self inflicted through not taking enough care of my legs. But I had no wounds or obvious entry points for the infection. In the end I started to convince myself that it did look like the onset of Cellulitus and agreed to commence taking the emergency antibiotics and penicillin that I always have to take with me on my travels.
By now I was really concerned about the prospect of having to spend almost 20 hours on a plane the next day . Indeed actually getting to the airport may be a challenge alone whether they would actually allow me to board. I struggled to even doze to start with. Sometimes when I have had this in the past I have screamed with pain in just trying to put my leg to the ground as the swelling internally doesn’t allow the blood to flow downwards. I was really concerned that this would happen when I tried to get out of bed during the night.
What a great and uneventful way to spend our last night. In a grotty airport hotel in pain, worrying if I would be able to fly home. The stress was impacting Karen as well.
We had been in bed for a hour when Karen’s phone rang disturbing us. One of her agencies wanting to work next week on a day when she had already accepted another booking.
Will we be able to get any rest tonight and will we make it home tomorrow?